The league meetings in Arizona began on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio with a visit from Arizona resident Jay Feely, a free-agent kicker and member of the NFL Players Association’s Executive Committee. Feely said on the show that the NFLPA has formed a committee to take a closer look at — and eventually to change — the union’s procedures for electing an Executive Director.
And then I forgot to post a blurb here with Feely’s comments.
Thanks to an article regarding that topic from Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, I’ve finally remembered to do it. Via Mullen, the board of player representatives voted unanimously to form a committee to study the election process.
“I think every guy had a different complaint,” NFLPA President Eric Winston told Mullen. “I think a lot of the guys said, ‘There has to be a better way.’”
The current rules, which allow any of the 32 player representatives to nominate as many candidates as they want and any candidate to get on the ballot with only three nominations, resulted in a nine-man free-for-all last month.
“Instead of trying to make Band-Aid fixes, let’s go out and see what other unions are doing,” Winston said. “What is baseball doing? What is basketball doing? What is the UAW doing? What are unions outside of sports doing?”
It’s never been an issue for the NFLPA because a sitting executive director hadn’t faced a challenger for decades. In 2009, an extensive vetting process eventually identified three candidates (DeMaurice Smith, Troy Vincent, Trace Armstrong), with a fourth (David Cornwell) securing three nominations and joining the fray.
Whatever the solution. the current process doesn’t work, with anyone who can finagle three nominations at least 10 days before the election getting an invitation to join what became a Royal Rumble last month for a seven-figure job.